Betsy laughed out loud at Koruna’s agreement which startled everyone in the room. Shola visibly shivered and gave her a wide berth.
“I really thought you would have like a beautiful laughter and something that sounded less like a cackle.” Koruna breathed.
Flora stared at Betsy like she couldn’t believe that such a sound came from her, she palmed her chest and declared… “Do not ever do that again!”
Betsy smirked at them and shrugged. “Too bad, I changed my mind… You can waste your life in the hellhole of your choice.”
Koruna raised her brow confused… “What? What?”
“You heard me, you can crawl back to wherever you think you belong. I told you, no one says no to me and after you agreed, I just lost my taste for it.” Betsy handed her hat to Shola.
“W…Wow, she is crazier than you Kor.” Flora clapped her hands in adoration.
“Is it okay if I started to worship you, you are my new Idol” Flow bowed at Betsy.
Betsy lifted Koruna’s chin and smiled at her, “I am not your average woman, the next time you want to engage in a mind game, pick your match.”
The waiter came with Koruna’s meal, and completely ignored the mood of the room.
“I don’t need you, there would always be other ways to get what I want. Enjoy your life Koruna, I haven’t had this much fun in a while.” Betsy left the room with Shola leaving behind her.
Flora picked her food and joined Koruna on the table, she grinned at Koruna and shook her head. “You finally met someone who could outwit you.”
Koruna chuckled and took a bite out of the steak on her plate. Flora tried to take cut out of her food but her hand was slapped by Koruna.
Flora leaned back and watched Koruna’s facial expressions, “You want to go now she said she doesn’t want you.”
“Yes, even though I know I would be doing exactly what she wants but I really want to go now that she says she doesn’t want me and I know she does but… arrghhhh, this is driving me mad.” Koruna moaned at the taste of the food.
“She got you bad!!! So when are we moving to the land flowing with milk and honey?” Flora pats her stomach that has bulged a little.
“We?” Koruna scoffed at her.
Flora chuckled… “You can’t really trust anyone, can’t you? You want to leave me in the Flames for a better life, how will I survive without you?”
Flora started crying dramatically.
Koruna ignored her and stared at the food in wonder,
“What is this? Nothing should be allowed to taste this good!!!”
“It is the Japanese Wagyu tenderloin with black truffle, mushroom and mashed potatoes. The Lither hall has the best chefs, I wish we could eat here all the time, the blue balls is just… the blue balls.” Flora sighed.
“I see what you are doing, it won’t work.” Koruna continued with her meal and kept ignoring Flora’s advances and pleas for a taste of her food.
Shola sat beside the driver as he talked to Betsy on their way home.
“Do you think she will come?” Shola asked.
Betsy smiled proudly, “Yes, she will… even if she knows that it is what I want, she would not be able to stand not having the last word.”
“Like Charles?” Shola asked whimsically.
Betsy went quiet and answered with a whisper “Like Charles.”
Koruna arrived at the gate of the giant castle, she has been in the Upper class but usually to steal or cause some kind of trouble. This is the first time she is coming through the front gate of any house in the Upper class.
Koruna never liked to think about the difference between the classes, she understood how the classist system is run, she doesn’t agree with the system but she has learnt to live with it and survive. The doorman and security took one look at her, she imagined what she looked like to them, a tall girl, slim girl with a head full of curly hair with round transparent glasses wearing torn jeans and an oversized cardigan. The doorman called the castle, she smiled gently when the security had to open the gates to let her in and walk her to the door. She gasped out loud when she saw the interior and surroundings and thought to herself that the rumors regarding the Ballan’s castle did it no justice. It was the most magnificent building she had ever seen. Koruna was led through the doors and up to a room that had way too many mirrors.
The doorman left her behind, she put her bag down and sat patiently, she waited for a while before she dozed off.
When she opened her eyes, it was to look into the eyes of a boy not much older or younger than her, his close presence startled her that she tackled him immediately.
“I’m sorry, I am so sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you.”
The boy cried out lout which brought her to her senses as she released him.
“I didn’t know who you were, I just got curious… You are really strong.” The boy massaged his arm.
Koruna nodded and adjusted her glasses, she took another look at the boy who was taller than she’d expected.
“Who are you?” Koruna asked.
The boy grinned and sat opposite where she was.
“That should have been my line seeing as you are the stranger here.”
“I am Koruna and you?” Koruna relaxed.
“Kelvin, and your name means nothing to me seeing as I don’t know who you are.” Kelvin answered.
“I could say the same for you, Kevin.” Koruna leaned into the sofa.
Kelvin glared at her but not in an obvious manner but enough for Koruna to understand… “I am not Kevin but Kelvin with an L, you can manage that much, can’t you?”
“You would think so? Wouldn’t you Kevin?” Koruna repeated.
“You are doing it again!” Kelvin groaned.
“Doing what Kevin?” Koruna pretended to be oblivious, she was bored and now she had found some amusement.
“You must think you are funny.” Kelvin shook his head and crossed his legs as if vowing not to stoop to her level.
Koruna laughed out loud and stopped at the appearance of Shola.
“You can come with me now.” Shola said to Koruna and ignored Kelvin.
Koruna clicked her tongue and looked at Kelvin, “I know who you are now, you are the adopted one, I am the illegitimate one. Don’t worry, I don’t bite.”
Kelvin stood frozen as he watched Koruna walk away, his back went cold as he followed them discretely.
Koruna focused on Betsy as she comfortably ignored her as she handled business through the phone. Betsy looked at Koruna with a straight face, emotionless and completely unlike how she was the first time they met.
“Shola will handle your settlement into the house, you don’t have to do anything except make something out of your life…” she stopped when Koruna stood and started walking around the room.
“This is how you keep everyone at arm’s length, cold and unemotional… You must be very lonely but you think this is how this place should be… You kept me waiting from day until dark, no apologies or consideration and I am the one without manners. I do not know what to call you or how you treat people, but from where I stand, you treat people how you want to be treated. If you plan on treating me as invisible, I would treat you exactly the same. Think about it carefully, do you really want me to?” Koruna smiled sweetly at Betsy.
Betsy stood and walked to Koruna, she held her chin
“Sweetheart, you are no longer in the Flames, this is the upper side of Nige, and emotions are a weakness.
The faster you understand this, the better it would be for you.” She adjusted Koruna’s hair and looked at her as if she wanted to say more.
“I will be honest with you this one time, emotions are the one thing that has brought me this far, anger kept me warm on cold nights, pain fed me when I was hungry, jealousy kept me from falling and my dignity kept my body mine, emotions to you might be a weakness but it is my strength, I did not come here because you were cold to me, I came here because I was curious, I wondered what would make the almighty matriarch visit the small little flames because I know more than anyone else how ruthless you can be, are you dying Betsy? Or is old age finally catching up to you?” Koruna said with rage in her eyes, this took Betsy by surprise and she took a step back.
Koruna adjusted her facial expression; “It is alright ma’am… I will take your advice to heart.”
The door opened and a petite girl with braids strutted into the room, paused and walked round Koruna… “Her? Seriously?? Father would never stoop so low.” She said with a surprising loud voice.
“This is Margaret, your sister… You two should get to know each other outside my office.” Betsy replied with a final note.
Margaret stared Koruna down and walked outside the job.
“Yet, I’m the one without manners.” Koruna picked her bag and left the room.
Margaret, Kelvin and two other people were waiting for her outside with different expressions but they all had the same uniform with different styles.
“She is tall, why is she taller than us?” A girl who was taller than Margaret whined but the boy beside her was the tallest in the room, it was obvious that he was going through puberty.
Koruna nodded at them and tried to follow Shola but was dragged back by Kelvin whom she tackled again.
“Seriously boy, when will you learn? Do not touch me!” Koruna said with a smile as she ruffled his hair.
“H..how are you so strong? I am older than you are, this is disrespectful.” Kelvin said while out of breath.
“Why are you so sure?”
Koruna folded her arms as she watched them analyze her.
Kelvin adjusted his shirt again which Koruna identified as a habit for when he gets frustrated.
“You realize that grandmother just brought you here to distract us, you are nothing but a tool and I don’t believe that my father would do something as low as get a lower caste pregnant. This must be one of her schemes to get us to behave.” Margaret said with a tone of confidence.
Koruna mimicked her tone and replied “You realize that going low was the reason for my existence, right? And am I really being looked down upon by a girl who was caught literally with her nose down the wrong kind of white powder? How have I fallen so far?”
The twins giggled at what Koruna said before keeping quiet when Margaret glared at them.
“I am Bernie and this is Annie, we are 20 years, from what we understand, you are 19 years, this would make you the youngest out of us which means that you have to do everything we say without question.” Bernie said with the most placating voice she had ever heard.
“We are not sure if she is really our half-sister.” Annie argued.
“Shut up, look at her face… she looks more like Father than any one of us. You are welcome to the family.” Bernie offered his hand for a shake, Koruna raised her hand and was about to reach him, he pulled it back and smirked, he came close to her ears and whispered.
“Welcome to hell.”